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November 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 29, No. 11   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Shady Operator Sent to Prison for a Diver’s Death

from the November, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Ever since his youth, Ernest "Mark" Rascon had been a trusting guy. Unfortunately, he trusted a man who didn't reveal that he had a criminal past. It cost Rascon his life. On July 27, 2012, Rascon, 47, was on a boat piloted by Craig Lightner, as both searched the kelp off Catalina Island for the blue-banded goby fish. Rascon, 47, using unfamiliar and unsafe scuba gear, got caught in the kelp and died.

Last month, more than two years after the incident, Lightner was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Rascon's death. The Los Angeles District Attorney's office and sheriff's department assembled a body of evidence to show it was no simple accident. They say that while Lightner had the chance to help Rascon out, he called the Coast Guard instead and stayed put. When Baywatch arrived, the rescuers had to summon him three times before he got off his cellphone. Also, Rascon's family says, Lightner never told Mark that it was illegal to fish around Catalina Island for the goby, popular in aquariums. There were a lot of things that Craig Lightner didn't do that led to Mark's death," says L.A. County Sheriff's Sgt. Dave Carver. "He kind of set Mark up for failure."...


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